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About skippermdj

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  1. skippermdj

    Expedition 11

    Yes, ENCs are vector charts, vectors being specifications of the shapes on the charts. So the charts "know" the types and characteristics of the objects on the charts and can zoom in to greater levels of detail. You can click, for example, on a lighthouse and get back the height, flash pattern, etc. The ENC chart also "knows" the difference between land and water, and enables your software to route you in deep water. RNCs are just dot-matrix pictures of the chart - you can zoom in, but you won't seem more details. Kind of like looking at a picture in a newspaper under a magnifying glass. CMap takes it up another notch, with photos of harbor entrances and additional information like the hailing channel and phone # of the marina, shore services, etc. The nice thing about CMap is they include the Canadian side of the great lakes, which otherwise cost the earth from Canadian Hydrographic Service. The CHS charts for Lake Superior to the mouth of the St. Lawrence are almost $1,800 while the CMap 4D set, which includes US waters as well, is around $380.
  2. skippermdj

    Making Lithium Batteries?

    Stan Honey has an excellent write-up on the LiFePO4 bank he built using prismatic cells. The battery management system (BMS) he used is no longer available, but there are reasonably priced options like the Orion Jr. I used Stan's plan to build a 300ah bank which has been working well for 3 years now. Mine weighs about 90 pounds and replaced 6 golf cart batteries which weighed almost 400 pounds. Figure about $600 per 100ah 12V increment for the cells and shipping, plus cost of the BMS, contactor relay and a few odds and ends. I'm not an expert, but I assume that building a large marine bank out of 18650 cells is not a good idea or somebody would written it up. On the other hand, DIY LiFePO4 banks are pretty common and there are detailed instructions for the less technical among us to follow.
  3. skippermdj

    Has anyone bought Boat Instruments lately?

    Expedition is running any time the instruments are on, unless I've blown a fuse or the PC died. That hasn't happened so far (knock on wood). Really no different than having an h5000 or other brain box - if it isn't running then the cool features are gone. The calibration features available on the Nexus and B&G Triton displays I'm familiar with have been very basic - just an offset and no way to load the calibration offset to the sensor itself. I have downloaded calibration data to Airmar's electronic compass and weather station, but that was using Airmar's PC software, although the compass was branded Garmin and attached to a Garmin plotter and display. They're probably out of my price range, but who is else is making calibratable smart sensors with an embedded processor and memory?
  4. skippermdj

    Has anyone bought Boat Instruments lately?

    Just my opinion, but the rest of the system doesn't matter much, at least for racing, if the sensors readings aren't repeatable across the entire range of boat speed, wind speed and wind angle. Once you are getting repeatable readings, you can calibrate the instruments so that you also get accurate data. Without accurate data you can't be sure if the shift or current you are seeing is real. I'd buy the best sensors I could afford and look for a system that provided some way to calibrate it. The beauty of NMEA 2000 and the available protocol translators is that you can take just about anybody's sensors and use them. At the time I put my instrument package together I bought the B&G Precision 9 compass, LCJ Capteur wind sensor, and Airmar CS4500 speed sensor. I'm pretty sure the CS4500 was a mistake, and I'd like to switch to the old reliable Signet paddlewheel. These are certainly not the very best, but they were the best I could afford. I'm finding Expedition on a low-power PC below decks to be a super tool. It's got all the calibration options I could ever use, will output calibrated/corrected values that I can then pick up on all my displays, and also broadcasts over WiFi. I bought some cheap waterproof Android phones off ebay, loaded them with Ventus, and now my tactician and navigator have access to all the calculated values like distance and bearing to layline, next leg TWA and recommended sail, target speed/AWA/heel, etc. Keeping everybody on the rail while giving them access to all the tactical information is pretty cool. I've got a Zeus2 at the helm, a Vulcan, some Triton displays and Garmin GNX120's on the mast. I'm really happy with all of them, particularly the Zeus and the Garmins.
  5. skippermdj

    Shipping stuff halfway around the world - any tips?

    Some years ago I shipped a pair of Barient 32's from Minnesota (USA) to Hutton/Arco in Australia using Sydney Full Service Expediters. They were VERY reasonably priced, fast and easy to do business with. If you can find someone who has an existing account with them and they are still around, I recommend them. BTW - Hutton/Arco converted the Barients to self-tailers and also did a superb job.